Launching GST without a test run, pre-launch groundwork

golden yug
[ June 30, 2017 ] For starters, the government and Modi"s team have been working overtime to present the ushering in of Goods and Service Tax (GST) as a momentous event at par with several major national milestones. The Congress, the Left parties and some others like Rashtriya Janata Dal decided to stay away from the midnight event because of the belief that the government"s enthusiasm notwithstanding, people are not exactly excited about the change in the tax regime. The Congress specifically wishes to capitalise on the anticipated dissatisfaction that is expected to set in post-GST launch. Various experts have opined that there was need for greater pre-launch groundwork and that the new tax system is being launched without a test run. They argued that in the least, the GST regime will cause confusion and disrupt businesses of traders. Coming close on the heels of demonetisation, also was a major irritant for traders, the Congress decision has been motivated by belief that it is presented with the opportunity to secure the backing of this community. If one goes strictly by the rule book, there is merit in the Congress argument that the Central Hall has been officially used for either functions to commemorate events related with the national movement or as venue for foreign dignitaries to address both Houses of Parliament. The Hall has also been used by political parties for major watershed meetings — mainly election of the parliamentary party leader of the ruling party. Nobody doubts the intension of NDA government behind GST implementation but terming it as a historical one only because it will be launched at midnight by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Parliament"s historic Central Hall, in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee is not enough. It is the fourth time since Independence that an event will be held there at midnight. The last three celebrated India"s Independence and that is among the reasons that the Congress has listed for boycotted the GST launch. Several other opposition parties too were stayed away. GST, which replaces a slew of indirect taxes with a unified tax, is set to dramatically reshape the country"s 2 trillion dollar economy.According to the invitation, sent by parliamentary affairs minister for the function in Parliament’s Central Hall cleared that the event will be inaugurating by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in the presence of President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Since President Pranab Mukherjee will be present at the launch of GST, he should do the honours and not allowing him to do so is undermines his stature. How can the Prime Minister launch GST in the presence of the President?It is historical because the government first time going to implement the policy without homework even some of the BJP ministers don’t know the full form of GST. In a huge embarrassment for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Government, one of its Cabinet MinisterS failed to spell out the full form of GST. Social Welfare, Scheduled Castes and Tribal Affairs minister Ramapati Shastri, who was present to make people aware about the nitty-gritty’s of the GST, was caught by media person when he was not able to tell the extended form of GST (Goods and Services Tax).It is very shameful for the BJP who is also the coalition partner in the government with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir once again failed to convince the opposition on evolving a consensus on GST in Jammu and Kashmir, putting a doubt over its implementation in the state. GST rolled out on July 1 and Jammu and Kashmir missed the deadline which leads to the disturbance in the state.BJP – PDP government, especially the BJP was unable to clarify how they would protect state’s fiscal autonomy. Even the special assembly session to pass the GST bill in the state of Jammu and Kashmir was also failed. The government had convened the session to discuss the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation, which needs a constitutional amendment by the legislature so that the new tax regime is adopted in the state but they failed. Ever since the midnight session of what was then the Constituent Assembly, was held on the night of August 14-15, 1947 to announce the arrival of independent India on the global arena, sittings in the Central Hall at the dead of the night held tremendous symbolic value. Since then, such sessions were held only twice: the first time in 1972 to mark silver jubilee of Independence, and then in 1997 to commemorate India turning 50. Undoubtedly, both the events were watershed in history. In 1992, a special session was held at 10.45pm to mark the golden jubilee of the Quit India movement. A plan was mooted to hold another such session in 2007 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of free India, but it was eventually abandoned. Past events in the hallowed and high-domed hall had a link with the freedom struggle as the Congress pointed out and provided as reason for their decision to stay away from this high-voltage event. It has been pointed out that a law coming into effect does not warrant use of Central Hall. After all, every law after passage and presidential assent comes into effect only at the stroke of midnight. The question then is why did Prime Minister Narendra Modi decide to mount such a function?